Thursday, July 9, 2015

7-9-2015 Entry: Being Extraordinarily Extraordinaire


Hello my lovelies! I hope this week is treating you as well as it has been treating me. I just have to sit back and marvel sometimes about all the moving pieces that are coming together in such perfect and amazing ways these days. I swear, and I’m not exaggerating, before my transition things generally didn’t work out as well as things have been since my transition. That’s not to say I wasn’t still achieving goals, writing books, and having wonderful opportunities enter my experience, but it’s like something has clicked inside of me and my life, and things are working out in ways I could have never expected in the past. It’s like I’ve become this human magnet for wonderful, amazing, uplifting, and exciting things. Little by little I’m gaining more and more clout in the trans community and I think that’s about to increase quite a bit.

The shooting of the news special I’m going to be featured in (possibly as the only subject) begins next Wednesday after I get home from work, which is way too exciting. I won’t lie, there was still some part of me that was worried that the reporter would change her mind or that my story would somehow become irrelevant, so to have a confirmed start date makes me feel so much more sure that this is going to happen. We are starting at my house where she wants to see me just be me and will likely ask me some questions in a conversation format. From there, I’m not sure where we will be going with things or how many times we will meet to film, but regardless I’m excited this is happening.

I know that one has to be careful about news exposure because, let’s face it, news these days is normally about the sensational more often than it is about the everyday. I know that I’m going to have to be on my A game when I talk with this reporter to make sure I don’t say anything tragic or impossible to take back. I recently reached out to Michael Hughes (which, for the uninformed is the cowboy hat wearing, bathroom selfie, transman that’s been doing the rounds on social media) via our friendship on Facebook and asked him if he had any advice for being trans in the news media. His words were simple but perfect. He told me to stay positive in my discussion and to be sure to smile. I’m not sure there really is much better advice than that in most situations in life, so I’m taking his words to heart and I’m going to do my best to stay positive with my story and to smile.

The excitement doesn’t stop there either. As anyone who has read my blog for any period of time likely knows, I have a pretty massive amount of respect and admiration for the original gender outlaw, Kate Bornstein (they/them). Their book, My Gender Workbook, just about revolutionized my life and the way I viewed gender in general as well as my own gender identity. As many already know I’ve recently posted about Kate where I reveled in the fact that they responded to me on twitter and ended up reading my blog post about my Pride festival experiences. Well, Twitter has served me once again because it may have opened up a distant opportunity to actually meet Kate in person!!! Not only to meet them, but to actually be the person who orchestrates an event for Kate to come to in my area!
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That, my friends, is exciting news for me, and the best part is, I think I already have a solid lead on a venue that would fly them in. I mean, how often do things like that happen to regular (non-extraordinaire) people? To not only correspond multiple times with someone so acclaimed and adored (and personally admired) but to then get the chance to do them a favor which leads to one meeting that person? If I can manage to work this out, I think I may actually have the opportunity to have some one-on-one time with Kate, which would OF COURSE involve pictures to post on here (no pics = didn’t happen, right?). I mean, what a golden opportunity for me to pick the brain of someone who’s led the fight against the gender binary for about as long as I’ve been alive.

But there is no guarantee that will happen, of course. I still have to figure out the details, but if the way my life has been unfolding lately is any sign of the likelihood that this will work itself out in glorious fashion, then I’m not worried. The more these things happen to me, the more it feels like some sort of divine intervention. I am no Christian, but I definitely do believe in an all-encompassing God force (of which we are individual facets in a much larger whole) and I’m really starting to believe that this God-force is working with me to achieve my desires. I know how that probably sounds, but I really have started to get the feeling like this is what I’m supposed to be doing; that I’m finally lining up with the fates and they are clearing the path in front of me to achieve my goals and to bring about some good in this world.

My faith in this sure path of upward unfolding was definitely solidified all the more when, if you can fucking believe it, Caitlyn Jenner favorited my Tweet that I shared with the link to the open letter response to her I wrote a few days ago. Whether or not it was actually Caitlyn (who has never favorited anything I tweeted at her) or someone else, I cannot know. Whether or not she read my letter or not, I may never know, but I have to hope that maybe she did and that’s all I could have really hoped for from that letter, just to be heard, just to have my thoughts considered by her.

My darlings, as I’ve stated time and time before, I have not come to change the world, I have come to ROCK IT!! And I swear to the high heavens that I can feel that pathway opening up before me the longer I go about this. The more people I correspond with, the more people I help, the more people I meet in person, the more people who read my words that I never would have believed would read them, and the more exposure that is thrust upon me from so many different angles, the more sure I am of this decision I’ve made.

I am moved to the point of tears to think about the amazing opportunities I have to help and to be an example to other people, even if that example is simply to choose to live a life true to yourself instead of social programming or social convention. I shed joyful tears as I thank that God force for these amazing gifts I’ve been given and that I seem to continue to receive. When the people I do volunteer work with tell me how much talking to me has meant to them and how helpful I’ve been to them over the past weeks/months, I just sit back and shake my head in disbelief. 5 years ago I would have never guessed this is where I’d be. I would have never guessed I’d be making such an impact on others. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be seen as worthy of the kind of attention to merit a news story, let alone hundreds of daily readers.

Today I met with someone (who will remain anonymous) that found me through this blog and emailed me to talk about their gender issues and confusion. I think the conversation not only went well, but might have actually helped them see things in a different light, to approach things from a different angle in order to help them grow to be the amazing person they are capable of being. What greater effort could I spend my time on than that? To be of service to another, to allow the confidence I’ve developed in my own non-binary gender identity and gender transition help me to help them. I don’t think we talked about anything too revolutionary but I left the conversation feeling like it had been a good thing and that it might have been helpful to them.

I know sometimes my excitement about getting to talk to people like Kate Bornstein and Jamie Clayton, or having people like Caitlyn Jenner possibly read my words can come across as me being obsessed with only the “famous” trans people, but that’s absolutely not the case. While I’m not ashamed of my revelry in any success I have at elevating myself closer to their level in the grand scheme of transgender things, there is nothing more important to me than making a positive difference in the lives of others. This blog has long since left its realm of being just an online journal for personal therapeutic purposes and has grown into a place where I believe I can actually make an impact on the lives of others. My only hope for rising to a higher level, of gaining increased visibility and becoming a bigger player in the trans revolution that’s happening in western culture, is so that I can have a larger impact on even more people.

I don’t want fame, or popularity, or even lots of readers to stroke my own ego. I somewhat seek after those things because they are an effective tool in creating positive change on a large scale. I want to be part of and possibly help inspire a movement that will shake the very foundations of our society and the way it views the gender binary. I want to break people out of the prison of not only cis-normative gender expectations, but out of the transgender mystique that’s keeping the trans* community from becoming a unified force for change. I want, ultimately, for millions of people to know who I am, what I stand for, and to help me in the work that I’m doing, not because I want mass adoration; although, I am definitely adorable! =p:::

In an interview done a few years ago someone asked Kate Bornstein if they thought the gender binary was necessary, and their ultimate answer was no, it wasn’t necessary. Not only was is not necessary, but it was something that ultimately had to be shed from human consciousness in order for us to achieve our greatest potential. I’m paraphrasing and adding my own understanding of what I believe Kate meant when they said that we would have to answer to the God force for our use of the gender binary, but I don’t think my interpretation is far off.

I agree with Kate. I absolutely believe we have to shed the gender binary, or at the very least the entrapping mechanisms that are currently contained within it in order for humanity to grow to its full potential. We have to stop allowing gender to be the dictator of what has social worth, what thoughts or experiences are valued, and what labels offer or strip one of power. We have to embrace the freedom to be whoever or whatever we want to be without consequence to social legitimacy. As long as it does not directly harm another’s freedom to do the same or deprive them of some fundamental right to life and physical safety, then there should be no negative social impact to expressing your true self. We need to encourage the world to operate on a higher standard of equality than just, “It’s fine as long as it doesn’t make me uncomfortable or contradict my previous dispositions.”

(Fuck that paradigm, seriously. If it makes you uncomfortable or is contrary to the way things have always gone for you, then that means it’s forcing you to grow beyond your current limitations and you will be a better person for learning to accept and deal with it. Expansion isn’t always comfortable but it’s absolutely necessary for the individual and the society as a whole.)

I want to share my story and the stories of those I’ve been so lucky to interact with because they have value and the potential for enormous growth. I want to raise the bar on what it means to be openly transgender so others can do the same thing. I want to show how a little nobody writer from Minnesota can make a huge difference so other people who feel like nobodies as well can understand they have the same potential for positive influence.

I pretty much never ask people to do this and for good reason, but if you haven’t previously shared my blog out in the virtual world, I hope that you will consider doing so in the coming weeks/months. Even if sharing my blog means that you have to come out of hiding to live as your true self in the bright sunlight of day, then perhaps the time is finally right for that. I encourage you to proudly (and probably petrifyingly) announce to the world that you are transgender, non-binary, queer, agender, gender fluid, or any other kind of gender. I want you to stand tall and know that you are beautiful and unique. You are truly one of a kind and I promise the liberation will be more worth it than your fear wants you to believe. You don’t have to hide, you don’t have to be ashamed, you don’t have to feel like you don’t fit in, you don’t have to be afraid about being different. You are beautiful, you are amazing, you are brilliant, you have unlimited potential, and your difference is a strength, not a weakness.

Let’s tear down the binary together by rejecting it’s power over us and just live as we want to live. Just be your fabulous self and make no apologies for it. I’m only Emma, transwoman extraordinaire because I refuse to apologize for who I am and who I want to be. You can join the extraordinaire club as well, all you have to do is let go of your fear and allow your real self to shine through all the bullshit social programing, conditioning, and expectations around you.

With love,

-Emma


**As an aside, I’ve been considering starting to share some of the coming out stories of other trans/non-binary/etc. individuals on here, so if anyone has one they’d like to share please email me (even if it the first time you are coming out in any way to anyone. It can also be anonymous). My main requirement is that it must be your own coming out story unless it’s about your perspective of your child/brother/sister/parent/etc. coming out. Ideally I would like these to be positive stories although that’s not necessary. Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, so the story can be a mixture of good and bad too.**


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